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Conservation benefit: Protection of 1,038 acres of rare coastal forest; reintroduction of 3,000 critically endangered palms

Community benefit: Environmental education in two village schools; construction of a permanent research monitoring station, kitchen, and guardhouse

Date Approved: 01.2010


This project protects forest, preventing the release of greenhouse gases and reducing erosion that damages coastal and ocean ecosystems.

Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, contains some of the planet’s most threatened ecosystems. Approximately 80% of Madagascar’s plants and animals occur nowhere else in the world. Unfortunately, more than 90% of Madagascar’s original forest cover has been lost since people migrated to the island a few thousand years ago.

In 2005, the nonprofit organization Azafady, now called SEED Madagascar, successfully completed a Seacology funded-project. So the community could monitor a rare littoral forest, they built tree nurseries, and camps for workers and volunteers.

The organization’s main environmental program, called Project Voly Hazo (“planting trees”), involves planting two critically endangered endemic palm species (Dypsis saintelucei and Beccariophoenix madagascariensis). With Seacology’s support, the organization will grow plants in nurseries and plant them in the 1,038-acre S17 coastal forest fragment. The group will also conduct environmental education programs related to the project in several local schools. To facilitate long-term monitoring, they also plan to build a permanent research station, kitchen, and guardhouse. The community requested these facilities during a public consultation when designating the protected areas.

Project Updates

June 2011

All planting for the project was finished in December 2010. This was achieved by Azafady Conservation Program (now SEED Madagascar) volunteers planting approximately 500 palms, and the Azafady Pioneer October 2010 program planting just over 3,000 palms. Project coordinator Brett Massoud visited the planting site in February, and was pleased to see the excellent progress of the plants, the majority of which looked well established with plenty of new growth. A few plants (fewer than 10), planted in full sun, had died; however, Brett did not witness any loss of the palms planted in the forest or on the forest edge. His February visit was cut short by very heavy rain and his subsequent evacuation from Sainte Luce when Cyclone Bingiza struck the area, and reports from Sainte Luce were that significant large tree falls may have caused damage. It was the intention during February to complete the kitchen and bathroom facilities, however the weather once again made it impossible. The kitchen and toilet designs were agreed upon, however, and stones were delivered to the site by local people. The guard house is now fully complete, has been painted with insect proofing paint, and furnished with a bed and table, as well as solar lighting. A temporary sitting house under a small canvas is being used while a solution is sought to the destruction of the sitting house by bad weather last September.

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June 2010

Field representative Erik Patel reports that numerous pre-project community meetings have been held and the purchase and transport of most of the building materials to the construction site has been completed. Additionally, construction has been completed on the Research Station Sitting House (which has been named the “Seacology House”) and the guard house. Approximately 500 seedlings of rare palms (Dypsis saintelucei) have been transplanted.

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Full or partial funding for this project provided by Seacology Germany.